Mayor's Green Fair on Main Street in Ann Arbor

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Ready to go green? The 15th annual Green Fair in Ann Arbor shuts down Main Street to regular traffic 6-9 p.m. on Friday, June 8, 2012 to make way for 120 exhibits promoting environmental awareness. An estimated 2,000 to 4,000 visitors will come to gather information, have fun and learn a few new ways to live "greener!"

There are three main sections of the event. "Environmental Leaders" deals with ways of recycling and cutting back on waste. "Clean Energy" covers ways of making your home more energy efficient. And "Green Commute/Bikefest" deals with green transportation.

Some of the exhibitors who'll be on-hand include University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems, DTE Energy, Whole Foods Market, Ford Motor Company, Wheels in Motion and Zipcar.

The Leslie Science and Nature Center is bringing back its popular Birds of Prey program. This family-friendly offering uses birds, which have sustained injuries that have left them unable to live in nature, as wild life teachers. An owl, eagle or maybe falcon will accompany a handler to teach children – and moms and dads – about how its species lives and survives in the wild.

Also returning is the circumference/conference bicycle – another crowd favorite. Holding seven passengers, this bizarre bicycle truly lives up to its name: It requires one person to steer and the rest to pedal. Not only is it a "green product," but it can also help solve communication challenges (it's been used in other countries for corporate team-building).

Children will enjoy creating their own special treasure from The Scrap Box, too. The Ann Arbor organization will be on-site with actual boxes of scraps – and kids can use recycled materials to craft something new. Got a builder? Little ones who like messier play may enjoy creating their own house – out of bricks made from mud and straw! There also will be a unique bus that kids can explore – and plant a few plants nearby. This bus, which hails from the West Coast, travels on corn and recycled vegetable oil and helps teach about carbon footprints.

To visually capture the idea of energy, there's also a bicycle that lets kids see how much energy it takes to light a light bulb – or how long it takes to make a crushed ice beverage – through pure pedal power.

A key part of the fair will be the awareness of what types of waste can be recycled as opposed to going in the trash. There will be people at the trashcans to help you determine what you can prevent from going into a land field.

The fair is a great hands-on way to educate kids, organizers say.

"Our children inherit the earth after us, so let's make it a better place for them to grow up," says Christine Schopieray, assistant to the mayor and an event coordinator. "When parents are introduced, the family benefits."

Ann Arbor is one of the fastest moving cities in the green movement (earning it its popular "Tree Town" nickname). This event will go on rain or shine.

See the Metro Parent listing for more on the 2012 Green Fair in Ann Arbor.

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